O scale layout

Discussion in 'General' started by skyraider, Nov 16, 2022.

  1. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    After reading the responses and thinking about this, the solution became pretty apparent: build an O scale shelf around the wall above the HO scale layout. Today, after checking on O scale flex track, the O scale shelf idea is now defunct. The price for a 40" piece of O scale 3 rail track is $24!!!!!!!!!!!!! Five years ago it was less than $8. It's tripled in five years...

    Back to the drawing board...
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  2. geep07

    geep07 Member

    Try pricing a turnout.
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  3. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    $90 each and up!!!!!!!!!!! Yikes!!!!!!!!!
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  4. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Wowsa that's some $$$ before you even turn a wheel.
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  5. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Some O-scale guys I know hand-lay their track. I think it's much less expensive than buying pre-fab track. Additionally, since O-scale layouts normally use less track proportionally than smaller scales, the hand-laying task becomes somewhat more manageable.

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  6. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    And that's why most of the O scale guys I know here in KC use FastTracks jigs to build their own.
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  7. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    36" pieces of code 125 rail are $4 each--that's $8 per 3 feet of track just for the rail--no ties. 1000 unfinished (bare wood) ties are $45.45. That equates to over $11 per 3 foot section of track for rails and ties, not including tax and shipping. And shipping rail is extremely expensive due to the length. Add in stain, tie spacing jigs, gauge jigs, switch jigs...it is scary how expensive it is. Regarding shipping rail, Fast tracks website says: Due to the high cost of shipping, there is a minimum order requirement of 66 pieces.

    Why has the hobby gotten so expensive? How do we expect young people to get involved in a hobby that has virtually priced itself out of the realm of reality? That's the very reason I have reverted to scratch building and doing the other things I do: I refuse to pay the ridiculous prices that are involved in model railroading.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2022
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  8. geep07

    geep07 Member

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  9. geep07

    geep07 Member

    Found this on You Tube.
    Nice O scale 2 rail switching layout.
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  10. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Regarding bringing young people into the hobby, when I lived in the Chicago area there was a monthly swap meet at the DuPage County fairgrounds. Over the years I attended, I noticed a significant decline in both attendance (hobbyists) and participating vendors. I also taught in a middle school for 12 years and in that entire time I only had one student who ever mentioned he was interested in model railroads (my students were 13 and 14), and when I met the one kid's parents, they were both in their early 50s. I think there are several reasons why it's hard to draw young people into the hobby. FIRST, if you think about the skill set required to build a model railroad that does anything more than run around in a loop, it's fairly formidable. You have to be (at times) a carpenter, an electrician, a landscaper in miniature, a model builder, etc. SECOND, as we've already hashed out, there is the expense. I would guess it would cost upwards of $500.00-600.00 to get something halfway decent up and running, considering that even a non-DCC locomotive runs around $150, and THIRD, for about the same money, you can buy a Gameboy or an X-Box that can be totally interactive in ten or fifteen minutes as opposed to the time it takes to build a functioning model railroad. FOURTH, there is the question of available space (where are you gong to build the layout?). And FIFTH, when I was growing up, and I suspect a lot of our members will remember the same thing, railroads generally touched our lives more directly. People traveled by train. Railroads employed twice as many workers as they do in the present day, which meant more families had a connection to the industry. Also, railroad property was generally more accessible to fans and photographers than it is now. These days, unless you are some distance away from any facility where employees are present, you are quite likely to be chased away (or, in my own case, busted by a railroad cop who informed me and my friend that we were not allowed to take photographs of a yard from a public road, hauled us into a yard office and ran our IDs--yes, that was illegal, but I'm not inclined to go back and try it again). Maybe the answer will ultimately be "V-scale," which I find fascinating, but have no idea how to begin--but I'll bet the kids would find it quite simple.

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  11. geep07

    geep07 Member

    Today's generation want instant gratification. You cannot get that building a model.
    With a phone in their hands they have gratification in an instant .
    Building a model would be time consuming and boring.
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  12. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Kids seem to do well in V-scale. Based on chat on the TRAINZ forum, the V-scaler population sounds younger, however there is a broad age range of practitioners. In fact, several on Frisco.org might be described as "older." :)

    V-scale solves the space problem (gstout's FOURTH problem). However, expense (SECOND issue) simply gets shifted from lumber and track to a computer where performance is roughly proportional to money spent, so V-scale is not a cheap way out. Finally, to model a particular prototype requires a list of skills that rivals that mentioned above as the FIRST issue. In addition, as has been mentioned elsewhere on Frisco.org, building a satisfactory virtual model takes a lot of time.
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  13. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    In the middle of all this talk about O scale, it turns out that a very well knows O scaler--Charles Morrill--lives in Benjamin, TX-- about 30 miles north of where my wife and I live. He is a retired Houston petroleum engineer who retired to this area and designed and built their current home around the basement for his O scale layout. Charlie invited me to come run trains with him after Thanksgiving and get a taste of an operating O scale layout. His isn't complete, but it's well on the way.

    Charlie doesn't model the Frisco, but SP in Oregon. Here's a link to a video of his layout taken summer of 2021:

    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
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  14. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Ok, I'll go ahead and throw my two cents worth in (and kill the thread), Ray has heard me talk about a O scale layout for a long time, and one of these days I will probably drink the Koolaid. My thought is a P48 layout based around the Blakely Island operation. It would be a small switching layout requiring one locomotive an SW1 #10 and a handful of cars. The ferry would act as a staging and with the prototypes small size and linear nature I think it would be manageable in O.

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  15. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    Switching layouts have never been my thing, but if Blakely Island floats your boat...
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  16. palallin

    palallin Member

    Why are you looking at 3-rail?
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  17. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    Thanks for the correction. That was supposed to say 2 rail track.
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  18. skyraider

    skyraider Member

    Spent the afternoon today at the home of Charlie Morrill touring his O scale layout. His house was literally built so that he could have a 30' X 40' basement with the stairway entering the basement in the center so there would be no duckunder / liftout. The layout is basically a shelf layout around the perimeter of the entire basement with a 35' long peninsula transiting the long axis of the basement. The layout is a twice-around-basement affair to make one complete loop. One descends slightly (less than 1%) while the other ascends very slightly.

    Charlie loves operations, so there is one large main yard with two smaller yards to switch industries. There are two scratch built turntables and both operate perfectly. The layout is wired for both DC and DCC. He flips some switches and pushes a button or two to transition between the two.

    His trackwork is impeccable--truly great. It's all hand-laid, hand spiked code 125 STEEL rail with wood ties. He didn't use any jigs or anything like that to make the switches. There is over 1100' (not scale--actual feet) of O scale track on the layout and more switches than I could count. The really unique part is his signalling system. The lighted signals, semaphores, etc., all work. When there's a train on a block, the light goes red. When the train leaves the block, it goes amber and then green (I think--remember my color vision). He designed and built the entire system himself.

    His rolling stock and locomotives are spectacular. He has three kits that he actually produced in very limited quantities: an MKT double sheathed 40' box car, a flatcar, and an Espee C-30 wood caboose. The box car and flat car are hydrocal main pieces with styrene and brass detail parts. He made the molds and then made the parts. These kits were manufactured about 50 years ago.

    Every steam locomotive has operating, lighted number boards, marker lights, and reversible constant headlights and backup lights. Nearly every one has a modified mechanism with a huge can motor, ball bearing drive system and gear box, etc. He builds, modifies and paints his own locomotives.

    His modeling shop is like nothing I've ever seen. Between the soldering station, small drill press, mill, lathe, etc., it's impressive.

    The scenery is marginal, but that's not really what he cares about. Building rolling stock and locomotives and doing operations are his primary interests.

    It was a fun afternoon and I learned a lot. A few marginal cell phone photos are attached. IMG_20221201_145148585.jpg IMG_20221201_145157054.jpg IMG_20221201_145316331.jpg IMG_20221201_145339768.jpg IMG_20221201_145730099.jpg
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  19. pbender

    pbender Member Frisco.org Supporter

    actually have had similar thoughts of building Blakely Island in O scale either above or below my n-scale layout….

    of course, i bought a barge in n-scale, so the current plan is to build it as Free-moN modules…. ( my home layout is Free-moN modules mounted on shelf brackets… )
  20. Rob R

    Rob R Member

    Just a thought on doing O Scale (US 1:48 or UK 1:43) on a budget.
    Over here on the right hand side of the pond it is quite common to recycle code 100 rail from used Peco etc 'OO gauge' track with coffee stirrers for ties (sleepers) either collected over time from your favourite fast food outlet or purchased new in bulk from Amazon/Fleabay.
    Code 100 is a bit light for mainline rail but is ideal for light/industrial railways using 70lb or there abouts.
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